Sansevieria – Does It Need Direct Sunlight?

The Sansevieria is a flowering plant that can be grown outdoors or indoors. The plant originates from Africa and is a great addition to all homes. While Sansevieria does not necessarily need direct sunlight, it does need natural light for at least six hours per day in order to do well.

Sansevieria remains a trendy hardy plant because of its easy adaptability to a range of growing conditions. The plant is well known for its tolerance to dark areas. This makes it a perfect indoor plant. These plants are very flexible when it comes to light requirements.

Direct sunlight for long hours makes the plant dry out quickly. If not checked, could dry out the entire plant completely. Although they can do well in direct sunlight, you should always be watchful for the signs of a leaf burn.

But because the plant is adapted to arid conditions, does it really need direct sunlight? Sansevieria can do well in all lighting levels, from darkness to direct light. Most snake plant species do well in bright indirect sunlight. Direct sunlight will affect this plant depending on the amount of time the plant has been exposed. 

How Much Light Does a Sansevieria Plant Need?

Snake plants can tolerate most indoor and outdoor lighting conditions compared to other succulent species. However, the amount of light that the plant receives has a huge impact and makes a significant difference in how the plant thrives.

Snake plant near the window.
The amount of light that the plant receives has a huge impact.

Most species of the snake plant prefer at least 8-10 hours of bright, indirect light every day. Indirect sunlight, this plant can tolerate up to 5-6 hours of direct sunlight. Placing them in east-facing windows or using grow light can bring the best results.

Does Sansevieria Need Sunlight?

The snake plant’s native environment consists of a dry condition. Though this hardy plant can do well in low light conditions, they tend to grow very slowly without enough light. Every plant needs light to create not just its food but also to strengthen its stems for support.

One of the reasons a snake plant is grown indoors is because of its beauty. When this plant is denied proper sunlight, it starts to grow spindly as its leaves stretch for the light. This effect destroys their appearance in the house. To prevent this, place the plant next to a window.

If your snake plant is not getting enough sunlight, the plant becomes droopy, leggy, and sickly. They appear sad-looking as their health keeps on deteriorating. Do not suddenly move your plant from a dark corner to light. Instead, you should train your plant bit by bit until it adapts to proper lighting.

Snake plant near the window in a grey pot.
One of the reasons a snake plant is grown indoors is because of its beauty.

While moving the snake plants towards proper sunlight, ensure to keep its humidity levels high. In cases with low humidity levels with high sunlight, the plant is susceptible to sunburn. Sunburnt leaves show signs of a thin leaf that darkens. The tips of the plant also get flimsy.

 Signs That Your Snake Plant is not in the Excellent Light Spot

1. It leans towards the light source

Snake plants tend to gravitate towards the source of light when in a spot without enough light. For optimal photosynthesis to take place, snake plants use red and blue light. The plant will always lean towards the direction that these rays are coming from. An indication it is craving direct sunlight.

Despite being rigid and thickened, the leaves of this plant will stretch as much as possible to reach the light. Temporarily, you may correct this by rotating the pot to the other side to get the light. A long-term solution is relocating the plant to a spot where it gets enough sunlight.

2. Thin, floppy growth

Your plant will strive to grow even amid low light. In the absence of enough light, the plant will respond by just striving to stay alive and healthy. This means the plant will want to conserve most of its energy. This is achieved by remaining thin, floppy with leggy growth.

A woman touching the leaf of the Snake plant.
The absence of enough light, the plant will respond by just striving to stay alive and healthy.

A snake plant that is not receiving much light tends to have longer than normal internodes. You may notice this by looking at the plant closely. You will notice that the spacing between the internode increases. If they are longer than usual, it signifies that your plant is receiving less light.  

3. small leaves

Sunlight is a source of vital energy for the snake plant. This energy is essential in the growth and development of the plant via photosynthesis. Without enough light, the plant cannot correctly nurture its roots, leaves, and even new shoots cannot develop.

4. Leaves start to fall over

Leaves falling may be attributed to other causes like overwatering. However, poor light can be a reason why your mother-in-law’s leaves are falling over. The extended absence of exposure or direct light causes the leaves to weaken, fall over, or bend randomly.  

5. Browning of the leaf tips

Let us put it in simple terms; a snake plant will do much better when exposed to bright light. During the low light periods, your plant will only resolve to stay alive. Some of the parts of the plants are adversely affected by this effect. The tips of the leaves are the most affected, as they start browning.

Older leaves and young ones will turn yellow and develop brown-like leaf margins. Ensure you establish the real The Browning of leaves cause should not be confused as too much light also causes the leaves to become brown. When in too much light, try relocating the plant to a place where it will get proper sunlight.

Direct Light vs. Dark Room: Which one does a Snake Plant prefer?

Snake plants can grow in a dark room for as long as exposed to some direct light. Snake plants do not necessarily need much light, which means that even artificial light can help the plant to grow. Without any light, the plant cannot carry out the process of photosynthesis, which in turn hinders its growth.

If you have placed your snake plant in a dark room and expect it to grow fast, try taking it to a place where it receives light. If the room has no natural light, you may try using artificial light, which may somehow help the plant to grow but slowly.

How to Ensure Your Snake Plant Survives Adverse Heat Waves from Direct Sunlight

You cannot control the conditions brought about by different seasons. There is much sunlight during the summer season, and hence the heat waves and the temperatures are high. This becomes even more complicated when these high heat waves last for extended periods. The snake plant is exposed to more risks, especially when in direct sunlight. To protect your snake plant during these periods, the steps below can be of great help.

1. Take your plant to where there is a shade

During this period, one of the most essential things you can do is to take the mother-in-law to a shade. You may not have helped much with the heat, but you will avoid the direct sunlight waves. This is mainly for the young and the less healthy snake plants.

Indoor Snake plant.
You may not have helped much with the heat, but you will avoid the direct sunlight waves.

Move the vulnerable plants to places they can get a shade or, better yet, take them indoors. For the mature and healthy snake plants, though they may be fine for some time in the sun, you should maintain a close eye on them to prevent sunburn.

2. Do not fertilize the plant

Fertilizing your snake plant is proper to ensure that they grow correctly and fast. During sunny or hot seasons, no growth takes place. It is not recommended to water the plant at these particular periods.

During the heatwave periods, snake plants need more water than nutrients. The plants should fertilize during the spring period when active growth occurs. Introducing fertilizers during this period may end up harming the plant.

3. Be keen on water levels

During heat waves, the amount of evaporation is high. Proper water practices should be practiced. While the rate of intake of water by the plant is low, the amount of evaporation keeps on rising. This means that the plant needs more water to avoid drying up.

The watering frequency should also increase to cater to the loss of water. Watering the plant should be done early in the morning to allow enough time to absorb the water. Watering snake plants during sunny hours or high heat waves may destroy the plant due to shock.

4. Avoid repotting

During sun waves, it is not the right time to repot your snake plant. Repotting during this time causes stress to the plant and can lead to the death of the plant. The best time to repot is during the spring season or when the temperatures are back to normal.

A person repotting the plant.
Repotting during this time causes stress to the plant and can lead to the death of the plant.

Bottom Line

Light can determine the appearance of your plant and how well your plant can grow. Too much sunlight can cause the snake plant to wilt, sunburn, and even wash out. For the leaves falling out, you can prune them out and leave the healthy ones.

Too little light will make the plant have a leggy growth. The plant may stretch too much and become thin as it strives to reach the light source. For snake plants, bright light is the optimal light for the plant. Expose the plant to 6-8 hours of bright light for maximum growth. For a maximum of 5 hours, indirect sunlight should be enough for the plant.  

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